It has been 5 months growing fresh herbs in my indoor herb garden. Each week I am pruning and harvesting Genovese basil, Thai basil, thyme, parsley, and mint. The harvest is more than our family can really use but as a way to fight a downward spiral the abundance is welcomed.
Adding these beautiful green leaves levels up my meals to an “extra” sentiment on my plate. Which has been needed over the last few weeks. Even though I am the one creating the meals, the fresh herbs remind me I am allowed to be “extra.” I am worth the time, the above and beyond, the detail. These herbs are small but provide something so much more to my meals!
As a family, we have committed to service as a way of life. Or as the 2005 movie Robots says “See a need, Fill a need.” With this spirit in mind, over the last 3 weeks, my husband has been working on a building project every weekend and after work hours during the week. Which has me serving at home solo.
This project will wrap in the next couple weeks and I am looking forward to the benefits the project will provide to our community.
But I am still a person. And loneliness is real.
Caring for 3 young children is taxing physically, emotionally, and mentally. And then adding to the equation social distancing (COVID-19) and e-learning makes for a cocktail of mixed emotions. And mixed emotions can derail my thinking and my pursuit of purpose by bringing “me” to the center focus in the negative.
This started with, “I wish Josh were here to play outside with us.” Followed by, “I am so tired. I could use some help keeping up with everything.” Both of these statements are true and innocent. But where they developed to was not. As the days went on the thoughts became:
“I am all alone.”
“This all rests on me.”
“Why can’t he see how hard this is for me?”
“I am not even worth his time.”
“I am not worth my time.”
“I am worthless.”
My loneliness began driving my thoughts. My loneliness became worthlessness. Which has no truth. Lonely? Yes. Worthless? No.
Emotions and thoughts work together, which then influences our behavior for the good or the bad. For me, this came out as short-tempered, frustrated, lack of energy, lack of focus.
Think back to your last week, is there a prominent emotion you have been feeling? How has that feeling influenced your thoughts? Are your thoughts positive or negative? How has this effected your behavior?
These are questions we need to be intentional about asking ourselves regularly. Because often we are in deep with the emotions and thoughts before we realize that we are attacking our self. These questions help us take a step back from the thoughts and the emotions providing us with an objective view.
How do we interrupt the thoughts and move through the emotion?
Action uses a different area of your brain, which helps take the focus off of the emotion and the thoughts. For me the action was cooking and adding the “extra” to the meals. By doing this I am fighting the lies of worthlessness by showing myself I am worth the time. I am allowed to take up space. I am allowed quality.
Dinners had turned back to old habits of quick and easy because I lacked energy and inspiration. The loneliness I was experiencing spiraled to me devaluing my worth which resulted in me not caring. You don’t care for things that are worthless.
My action had to go back to the beginning where I experience freedom in the past. All those moments had to be remembered. Prayers and reading. And then doing physical acts to show myself I have worth.
Creative meal planning is a act of self-love because it takes time and planning. Then cooking meals that have many ingredients. Cooking meals that require some attention. And then gifting myself “extra” sentiments of love. This particular time it is fresh herbs picked with my very own hands.
What action can you take to interrupt the spiral of your emotions and thoughts?
Take a walk outside.
Get up early to watch the sunrise.
Drink a hot cup of coffee while sitting.
Buy cucumbers at the store to add to your water (Spa water is all the rage).
Buy your own fresh herbs to add to your meals.
Our emotions want to run the show but we cannot allow them this control. Emotions are a gift that enhance life, but in order to enhance our lives they have to work with all the other areas as a whole. As the whole body (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) works together intentionally we experience freedom.